High street giant Boots wants to provide a service for drug addicts alongside the general facilities at a Motherwell surgery.
Under its plans staff would supply heroin substitutes to patients at Modyrvale Medical Centre in the town’s Knowetop area.
Boots intends to close the smaller of its two pharmacies in Windmillhill Street and set up shop in the health centre.
The firm has teamed up with NHS Lanarkshire for a consultation.
Boots would take over part of the surgery’s large waiting area where it would sell its usual range of products. It would also introduce the supervised supply and consumption of methadone and buprenorphine for heroin addicts.
Councillor Gary O’Rorke said it’s important that if people have a view they make it known, adding: “I would like to see leaflets distributed to residents in the surrounding area explaining what is proposed. People must be informed fully.”
People can take part in the survey, which runs until May 28, by visiting the NHS Lanarkshire website. Leaflets are available at Boots and the medical centre.
A health union said it’s becoming more and more common for pharmacies to operate from medical centres, offering addiction and other services.
Gavin Fergie, professional officer (health) with Unite in Scotland, said the trend is towards a one-stop shop where patients can see a doctor and pick up their prescription.
Many High Street pharmacies choose to dispense heroin substitutes to addicts and Unite has no real concerns about such a service being in the same building as a general surgery.
Mr Fergie said: “There is a plethora of guidance, protocols, standards and risk assessments while staff get additional training.
“When all of these are adhered to there are no real concerns regarding safety in health centres.”
More on this story in the Motherwell Times, out now.